Species, sex and individual differences in the vasotocin/vasopressin system: relationship to neurochemical signaling in the social behavior neural network

Front Neuroendocrinol. 2015 Jan;36:49-71. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2014.07.001. Epub 2014 Aug 4.

Abstract

Arginine-vasotocin (AVT)/arginine vasopressin (AVP) are members of the AVP/oxytocin (OT) superfamily of peptides that are involved in the regulation of social behavior, social cognition and emotion. Comparative studies have revealed that AVT/AVP and their receptors are found throughout the "social behavior neural network (SBNN)" and display the properties expected from a signaling system that controls social behavior (i.e., species, sex and individual differences and modulation by gonadal hormones and social factors). Neurochemical signaling within the SBNN likely involves a complex combination of synaptic mechanisms that co-release multiple chemical signals (e.g., classical neurotransmitters and AVT/AVP as well as other peptides) and non-synaptic mechanisms (i.e., volume transmission). Crosstalk between AVP/OT peptides and receptors within the SBNN is likely. A better understanding of the functional properties of neurochemical signaling in the SBNN will allow for a more refined examination of the relationships between this peptide system and species, sex and individual differences in sociality.

Keywords: Affiliation; Aggression; Communication; Estradiol; Oxytocin; Pair bonding; Sociality; Testosterone; V1a; V1b.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Nerve Net / metabolism*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Social Behavior*
  • Species Specificity
  • Vasopressins / metabolism*
  • Vasotocin / metabolism*

Substances

  • Vasopressins
  • Vasotocin